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Excellent Structures for Research, Teaching and Campus
At the second university conference the University of Siegen presents new large-scale construction projects – beginning in autumn, the excavators are moving on the Adolf Reichwein campus.
The official inauguration of the campus Unteres Schloss was barely over, when new projects followed. At the second university conference, rector Prof. Dr. Holger Burckhart looked ahead until 2025. Invited to the event at the Audimax were all members of the university, students, employees, and also the general public. He discussed the restructuring of the Adolf-Reichwein Campus, a project planned for this autumn, the extension of the Karstadt building to a lecture theater complex, the construction of a cafeteria in the inner city, but also a possible relocation of Faculties I and II to the inner city, as well as the expansion of the Adolf-Reichwein campus at the top of Haardter Berg.
For Rector Prof. Burckhart, the structural changes are signs and results of the work done at the university. "The University of Siegen has become a major player. It is taken seriously, valued and regarded as a competitor by other universities," he said. The state government also realized this. "That is why in Düsseldorf it was decided not only to invest 35 million euros into the repairs, but almost 150 million in modernization projects." Information about plans on how to spend this money was also given by Chancellor Ulf Richter, Prof. Dr. Hildegard Schröteler-von Brandt (Dean of Faculty II), Siegen's mayor Steffen Mues, and Jörg Münker of the area and property management of the University of Siegen.
Restructuring of the Campus Adolf-Reichwein Street
Münker confirmed the university members' forecast on what to expect from October 2017 on at the Adolf Reichwein campus. Here, where the heart of the university life pulsates normally, excavators and cranes will dominate the landscape. Until at the end of 2019 the renovation of the library, the canteen and the building sections K and H will be completed. Münker presented the transitional solutions: the library is partly moved to the Hölderlin building and partly to the former furniture store Bald in Weidenau. The Haardter-Berg-Schule can be used by the university from April on. The main cafeteria is moved into a modular building and the Hölderlin cafeteria continues to operate normally. "We have to create new paths and connections between the buildings," explained Münker. University life will shift to the other side of the campus, added Hildegard Schröteler-von Brandt. "And things will get tight."
Three years of construction? One could see many a wrinkled forehead in the audience. "Certainly, the beginning of an impertinence," admitted the Rector unhesitatingly. "But it is also the beginning of the future. Please, everyone, help in this effort," was his appeal.
Masterplan for the Haardterberg and the Inner City
While the redevelopment project runs under the bulky heading "Higher Education Consolidation Program" (HKoP), all other options for the future are summarized under the promising title "Masterplan". A period up until the year 2025 is earmarked for implementation. Until then, the campus in Haardterberg is to expand northwards. "We want to create a campus university with a green center," Chancellor Ulf Richter outlined the plans. To this end, there ought to be a student dormitory just as much as a science campus for companies founded from within the university.
Various Properties to Choose From
"We will do one thing without leaving the other undone," declared Richter, referring to the second thrust of the masterplan. This aims in the direction of the inner city. "Faculties I and II, which are the ones with the most students, belong in the city," said Rector Burckhart. Mayor Steven Mües also wished for a stronger foothold of the university in the city-center: "There can be much more university in the city". To find the right areas for the move, the university conducts talks with various property owners. "There are several alternatives and offers," declared the Head of Administration Ulf Richter.
Auditorium and Canteen on Campus Unteres Schloss
Concrete measures are already in place for the Campus Unteres Schloss. The designs for the auditorium and seminar complex of the Karstadt building are available. The summer semester 2019 is the scheduled project start here. A cafeteria for the Schloss courtyard is also intended; a two-story cafeteria is to be built. As a location for a parking area a spot between Obergraben and Schlossplatz has been found. Detlef Rujanski, Managing Director of the Studierendenwerk, would like to start canteen business there during the winter semester 2018. "The designs are on the table. Now it is up to municipal decision-making bodies to create building rights as quickly as possible", he said, with a view to Mayor Mues and the attendant members of the council.
Excellent Structures for Focused Research and Individualized Teaching
For Rector Burckhart all the building developments are connected with the inherent objectives of the university. "Where does the future lead the University of Siegen? Only if this question is answered can concrete, wood, glass and steel be adequately engineered and installed," the Rector said. The interwoven process of research and teaching remains the basis. "We will search, ask questions, and try out different ways. We will discuss knowledge gained in teaching in dialogue with the students and continue to ask the society the necessary critical questions. "The universities would have to be the backbone and the creative force of ever-new generations of, hopefully, politically enlightened, democratically committed, but also professionally excellent young people. Burckhart: "Focused research and individual teaching also require excellent structures. They arise where social habitat, research campus and place of study are connected."
Discussion and Questions
The University Conference is a discussion forum. Participants took the opportunity to ask questions.
Will courses and events be cancelled during the construction period at the AR campus?
No. All seminars and lectures will be held. We will create interim solutions.
Will the container cafeteria be able to cope with the mid-day rush?
Detlef Rujanski, Managing Director of the Studierendenwerk, assured that the cafeteria would maintain its quality of service. One would naturally have less space. If the length of stay of the guests is somewhat shorter, everyone could be accomodated in the usual opening hours. "We therefore ask all those who have finished eating to expeditiously free up their seats for the next guests," said Rujanski.
Are the transitional solutions equipped for the disabled?
Not completely. In the Haardter-Berg school accessibility is only guaranteed up to the first floor.
What will the renovated buildings look like?
For energy reasons, they do not have balconies anymore and get a sheet facade. The color is not determined yet.
Does the new library offer more reading and work places?
Yes, the new library is not meant to be a pure library. Plans are also for rooms in which groups can work.
If so much is built, can you not think about a cable car again?
A clear "no" from mayor Mues. A nice idea, which was once examined in detail. But the operation was too expensive and failed because a track would lead through private properties.
Text: Sabine Nitz, photo: Björn Bowinkelmann